Nurse Files Lawsuit After Contracting Salmonella from Tempeh

Nurse Files Lawsuit After Contracting Salmonella from TempehA nurse just filed a lawsuit after contracting the dangerous, sometimes deadly, Salmonella infection from contaminated tempeh. The lawsuit was just filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina and seeks damages from Smiling Hara Tempeh and Tempeh Online.

As we’ve mentioned, the Salmonella paratyphi B strain has been linked to one ingredient, a starter culture distributed by Tempeh Online of Rockville, Maryland to an area company that sells Smiling Hara Tempeh. Salmonella Paratyphi B is a rare Salmonella strain that has a 30-day incubation period; most other Salmonella strains have a 10-day incubation period.

Mary Ann Hurtado contracted Salmonella after consuming a tainted soybean cake (tempeh) in a restaurant on March 19 while on vacation in Asheville, said the Florida Times-Journal. On March 21, Hurtado began suffering from cramps; by March 23, she was ill with shaking, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea, according to the lawsuit. Hurtado returned home to Jacksonville and, by March 25, was hospitalized for three days. Hurtado was forced to stop working with her patients when she learned she was contaminated with Salmonella, the lawsuit continued, said the Florida Times-Journal.

To date, said the lawsuit, 88 people have fallen ill as a result of Salmonella poisoning caused by unpastueurized tempeh manufactured by Smiling Hara Tempeh that originated with imported starter culture from Tempeh Online, said the Florida Times-Journal. The potential for contamination was noted after testing by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed the presence of Salmonella in some of the recalled tempeh product. According to a prior MSNBC report, more than 90 people have been sickened.

Smiling Hara Tempeh recalled tempeh products on May 1 that were made between January 11 and April 12, 2011. Since, said the Florida Times-Journal, the firm has taken down its web site leaving a statement in its place that says, in part, that it is using this time to “re-evaluate every aspect of our production to insure safety and quality in our tempeh.”

Although most of the sickness have been reported in North Carolina, some have also been made in some other states, Gaylen Ehrlichman, a spokeswoman for the Buncombe County Department of Health, told MSNBC previously.

The most common symptoms of Salmonella poisoning—salmonellosis—are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, with symptoms manifesting, usually, within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The illness usually lasts four to seven days; however, in some, the organism can invade the bloodstream, becoming so severe that hospitalization is required. Sometimes, infection with the Salmonella pathogen can result in, and produce more severe or chronic illnesses, including serious life-long health issues. Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses, can be especially life threatening to those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy.

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